FIRST HALF OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY 355
outer: that is, between the nature of the growing being and its
environment. A plant or an animal or a child grows by the
twofold process of making the outer inner and the inner outer:
that is, by impressing the form of its own life on some external
material, and by developing its own nature in doing so. Growth,
in other words, is a process of overcoming differences by finding
a connection between things at first opposed. The complement
of the law of Opposites, therefore, is the law of Connection,
which is really a law of Trinity, since it brings together two
contrasted things by means of a reconciling third thing.
Froebel's discussion of educational practice is based on this
idea of development as progress through contrast to an ultimate
harmony. It underlies all the special devices he employs for
the training of the child. In the second Kindergarten Gift,
for example, the child is shown side by side the contrasted forms
of the sphere and the cube—the one-sided and the many-sided,
the curved and the straight, the moving and the stationary:
then the cylinder, which is both one-sided and many-sided,
curved and straight, moving and stationary, is presented to
connect the two opposites. The principle, however, is applied
not merely to such details, but to the whole process of education.
The educator begins with the contrast of inner and outer, and has
to see that they come ultimately into a unity.
In childhood^ education is mainly a matter of making the inner
outer by letting the child unfold his nature through action on the
external world of men and things. " The first voluntary employ-
ments of the child, if its physical needs are satisfied, are (a)
observation of its surroundings, spontaneous reception of the
external world, and (b] play, which is independent outward ex-
pression of inner action and life/'* First, that is, the child is
brought into contact with the facts of the material and the
spiritual worlds through direct experience spontaneously acquired
(Anschauung); then he reacts on them by trying to shape these
external things into conformity with his own nature. His earliest
action is to grasp objects, play with them, perhaps break them.
This is his crude method of making them personal to himself;
and it never ends in destruction but in attempts at construction
according to the dictates of his immature fancy. It is his way of
making the outer inner. The same creative activity is seen in
* Pedagogics of the Kindergarten, Jarvis* translation, p. 29.